Vauxhall workers 'hoping for best' over jobs after sale to PSA

(c) Sky News 2017: <a href="http://news.sky.com/story/car-workers-facing-uncertainty-but-hoping-for-the-best-10792800">Vauxhall workers 'hoping for best' over jobs after sale to PSA</a>
 

The workers who make Vauxhall cars in the UK say they are under no illusions about job security - despite assurances from the company's new owner.

The company behind Peugeot (Other OTC: PUGOF - news) , PSA, has bought Vauxhall and Opel from General Motors (NYSE: GM - news) in a £1.9bn deal.

It said it would honour existing commitments, where sites in Ellesmere Port and Luton have production contracts until 2021 and 2025 respectively.

But workers know their division of their American owner's business has been losing money for 18 years and no one knows what the firm's new French owners will do.

The spectre of trade barriers has been on everyone's mind since the EU referendum.

"Brexit and nationalism and protectionism will not take us anywhere," union official John Cooper said at the Ellesmere Port plant.

He said 75% of the parts they use are imported, while eight out of 10 finished cars are exported to Europe.

Mr Cooper started on the production line 40 years ago and acknowledges that while "not likely", closure when current production commitments expire in four years is a possibility.

His colleagues making Vivaro vans at the firm's Luton plant voiced a similar mix of optimism and concern.

Lee Gibbons, 61, said he had heard plenty of dire warnings about closure over the years but the plant had survived and has the promise of continued production until 2025.

For younger workers though, there is more worry.

Joshua Taylor first heard he was working for a French firm on Facebook (NasdaqGS: FB - news) .

"No one really knows what is going on," he said,

"Everyone has got families, bills to pay, so as someone on the front line of the production, we want to know what is going on."

Richard McEwan agreed: "They've said they're not in the business of shutting companies down but we've heard that before.

"I just really hope for the best. They've got a good product, they will make money, so they should really keep us on."

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